Royal Oak officials to analyze possible new city hall complex

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published January 27, 2016

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ROYAL OAK — Members of the City Commission unanimously approved earlier this month an agreement with an independent firm to analyze forthcoming plans for a new City Hall complex.

Plante Moran Cresa will vet details when a new complex is proposed by a partnership between the Surnow Company and the Boji Group — a partnership granted the exclusive opportunity to research and pitch a redevelopment plan for a new City Hall complex at the existing complex’s downtown location. The commission approved up to $30,000 Jan. 11 for the Plante Moran Cresa analysis.

Economic Development Manager Todd Fenton said the firms are on track to present their comprehensive plan to the city in May.

“I’m confident not only will they hit this benchmark, they may actually hit it early,” he said. “They are moving very, very fast.”

Fenton said it is time for the city to do some due diligence of its own to make sure that all of the financial information, construction information and any assumptions the firms are using will be verified by a third party.

The Plante Moran Cresa analysis would include not only the project that the Surnow Company and the Boji Group will propose, but also the operating costs today and into the future of redeveloping the current site.

“Which we really need to perform an essential check and balance on — whether this project makes appropriate fiscal sense for this city,” Fenton said.

Commissioner Kyle DuBuc said the developers approached the city about coming up with a proposal for the site.

“Right now, they are doing their due diligence, but when there is actually discussions about the city entering into any sort of agreement, the public will be aware of the project we’re considering and we’ll have ample opportunity for input,” he said.

DuBuc said the city needs to bring on additional eyes to make sure city leaders are doing their due diligence, because it is such a substantial project.

“It is a game-changing project and the city staff has neither the time nor, frankly, the expertise on some of these issues to analyze it on our own,” Fenton agreed.

City officials did not request redevelopment plans for the site, but they have granted exclusivity to those wanting to propose a plan. Officials have commented in the past on the building’s outdated status.

Last week, the building was closed Jan. 20 following a heating pipe rupture in the assessor’s annex portion of the building. That left the building without heat or water.

Plante Moran Cresa will review and validate the existing City Hall/police station renovation and operational costs as prepared by the city’s architects and engineers.

Fenton said Plante Moran Cresa has worked on some of the largest municipal construction projects in Michigan, including Westland’s new City Hall and fire station, Novi’s Police and Fire department renovations, capital improvements among eleven departments and multiple facilities in Macomb County, and construction of the new police station and Township Hall in Huron Township.

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